Try orange wine for a different drink this summer

It’s likely that the uptick in enthusiasm for orange wine is linked to the growing trend of natural and organic wines. Whether rosé wine has had its day is debatable but for some people at the forefront of wine trends, switching to orange wine is the thing to do.

Tastes do shift over time and wines tend to come in and out of favour, but rosé will probably stay pretty popular this summer. If you are looking for something a bit different though, consider trying one of these orange wines.

Could orange wine replace rosé wine as the ideal summer drink

There are, of course, some great quality rosé wines on the market, and particularly if you are looking at fine wines for summer. Unfortunately, many of the easily available rosés are mass produced and tend to be on the sweet side. If you’re looking for a wine made with natural principles and is between red and white, then orange wine could be for you.

Orange wine is basically white wine with a different production process. During winemaking, there is an extra step where grape juice is left to rest on the grape skins. How long this process goes on for determines the final product. Winemakers maintain that this extra step adds complexity, depth and body as well as the colour. You can expect honey stone fruit flavours as well as spicy and sour notes.

Natural and biodynamic winemaking practices always include additional production principles. For example, many natural winemakers will use traditional methods such as using terracotta pots called amphorae to ferment the wine in the same way Romans and Greeks used to. These ancient methods allow the wine to spontaneously ferment, rather than our modern-day practice of adding stabilisers and commercial yeasts.

This also means that making good quality orange wine and other natural wines takes a high degree of skill. There is a fine line between leaving the skin in contact with the juice for just long enough and too long. One will give you a refined, high-quality wine and the other a sharp, vinegary flavour.

Look out for different shades of orange wine

The longer the wine rests with the skin, the deeper in colour the orange wine will be. It’s a bit like steeping tea, so the more time on skin leads to a more complex wine with properties that could remind you of sherry, for example. Deeper coloured orange wines will have more acid, and this can be useful if you are serving a rich meal. If you’re drinking it unaccompanied, a lighter colour would suit better.

Look out for orange wines made in regions like Georgia and Slovenia. They have a long history of making natural wines, but you can find loads of varieties from all over. Don’t avoid sediment either as this indicates an unfiltered wine that will be packed with flavour.

Check out these 3 orange wines this summer

  1. Under £15 – Ciello Baglio Antico Orange Wine 2019

From Sicily in Italy, Baglio Antico Bianco is one of the best value orange wines made by experts in natural wines – Ciello. The wine is made by macerating white catarratto grapes with their skins during fermentation. And the end result is a nicely balanced, easy drinking orange wine that works with and without food. Expect citrus peel, ginger and herby flavours, with a rich texture.

  1. To look like an expert – Pheasant’s Tears Buera-Grdzelmtevana W, 2018

Georgia is well known for celebrating its traditional past and growing popularity as a tourist city. This wine is made by John Wurdeman who is an American who decided to live in Georgia and produce wines made with the ancient techniques of the country. This is a blend of Grdzelmtevana and Buera grapes that are aged in qvervis (traditional wine amphorae) for six months. The resulting wine is deep amber in colour and has a deep yet exotic fruity flavour.

  1. Most Instagrammable orange wine – Vino Bianco IGT Slatnik Radikon 2018

While Serragghia Bianco by Italian wine expert Gabrio Bini is a popular choice for the ‘Gram, this Radikon Slatnik is great too. This is partly thanks to its distinctive graphic label and long, narrow shape. It’s also delicious and made by the Radikon family, who are leaders in natural wine making.

How the European wine industry is working towards its sustainability goals

Climate change is affecting every industry around the world, as we collectively work out ways to combat the worst effects. For the wine industry, the escalation of the effects of climate change have had a direct effect on the product. From unstable weather patterns throughout Europe to new wine regions springing up in the UK thanks to hotter temperatures, there’s no doubt that environmental factors are key for the world’s wine industry.

European wine industry joins movement to increase glass recycling

To further the goal of reducing emissions and waste, the Comité Européen des Enterprises Vins (CEEV) recently announced it has opted to join other European bodies that have the aim of increasing glass recycling to 90% by 2030.

The group of European organisations was set up by the European glass packaging federation (FEVE) and is called the Circular Economy Platform for Glass Collection & Recycling. Other members of the group include Municipal Waste Europe (MWE), Spirits Europe, the European Federation of Glass Recyclers (FERVER) and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe.

All group members collaborate to achieve its overall goal of achieving a 90% bottle-to-bottle closed loop of glass bottle recycling by the end of the next decade. Currently, the glass packaging recycling rate across Europe is at 76%.

Sustainability is a key priority for global wine industry

And, despite the challenges the industry faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEEV is clear that recycling and the promotion of a circular economy “remains a key priority for the wine sector.”

As most (more than 90%) of the wine made in Europe is packaged in glass bottles, there is a specific focus on the wine industry’s sustainability goals. Ignacio Sanchez Recarte is the secretary general of the CEEV. He says that by contributing to the wider goal of improving the glass packaging chain’s sustainability score, the wine industry’s score is also automatically improved. He goes on to say: “While there are so many kinds of wines… glass is one of the few common and universal values we can use to transmit to our consumers our sector’s engagement to preserve the planet.”

There are, of course, a number of alternative packaging options for wine producers, ranging from boxes and cans to tubes and kegs. However, consumer platform Friends of Glass conducted a survey that shows 80% of European consumers still want to buy wine in glass bottles. Furthermore, consumer spending on glass packaged products has risen by 51% since 2017.

Working together to achieve common goals

The wine sector is one of the glass packaging industry’s leading market segments, and it is growing every year. For this reason, says Adeline Farrelly, FEVE secretary general it’s vital that collaborations like this go ahead so that both industries can support each other’s sustainability efforts. She says: “The Close the Glass Loop platform is one way to achieve our shared goals. The more recycled glass that goes back into our production loop, the lower the negative environmental impact of the bottles.”

Another part of the Close the Glass Loop initiative includes improving the quality of the recycled glass they produce. This will ensure a greater amount of recycled glass goes into the newly formed production loop. For example, at the moment 76% of glass is collected for recycling, but just 52% actually makes it back into the production loop.

Perfect wine picks to go with store cupboard meals during lockdown

Most of us are shopping far less than usual due to the coronavirus outbreak. Which can mean making meals from store cupboard ingredients rather than fresh produce. While this could make mealtimes less exciting than normal, the good news is it’s simple to pair wines with store cupboard meals and get more flavour from your dinner.

Classics like baked beans on toast, simple pasta and pesto or tomato sauce can be refined with a good glass of wine. And while many of the things we like to do are off limits for the time being, what could be better than taking the time to enjoy a well-matched wine with your meal.

Perfect wine picks to go with simple store cupboard meals

We’ve done wine pairing articles before, but mostly focusing on dinner party food. Here we’ve picked some wines to go with simple meals you can rustle up from ingredients in your store cupboard.

  1. Baked beans on toast

Pair this family favourite with red wines hailing from warm climates. Baked beans have long been a favourite in the UK, thanks to their combination of a reduction of vinegar and sugar to form the sauce. Reds with plenty of fruit from warm wine regions go really well with baked beans. For example, you could choose an Australian shiraz or a merlot from Chile. A great choice of the latter is Lorosco Reserva Maipo merlot 2017. It has an intensely enjoyable flavour with fruity aromas of plum and blackberry combining with hints of toast and vanilla. The soft tannins in this wine make it the perfect pairing with the comforting flavours of beans on toast.

  1. Instant noodles – chicken and mushroom flavour

We’ve all got a Pot Noodle or two hiding in the cupboard, or ideally one of the more refined versions. And while it can be difficult to match wines with broth or soup, the chicken and mushroom flavours are easier to match. Try your noodles with a Chardonnay with a lightly oaked finish, such as La Reverence 2018. Its golden straw colour combines with summery fruit flavours of melon and peach, all perfectly balanced with a crisp finish. It’s made from a combination of grapes: Minervois and Roussillon, and this is what gives it the fresh, minerally flavour profile. It goes very well with meaty and vegetable flavours.

  1. Tuna pasta in a tomato sauce

Another meal easy to whip up in minutes from store cupboard ingredients, this dish calls out for lightly tannined red wines. Beaujolais is an ideal match with all kinds of oily fish, including tuna, and as it’s a medium bodied wine it goes well with the rich sweetness of a tomato sauce. Try Oedoria Beaujolais Rouge 2017, which has an intense colour, fruity aromas and pleasantly smooth tannins.

  1. Pasta and pesto

When you want a bit more oomph to your pasta, pesto is always a good bet. It’s a simple but tasty dish thanks to the pesto’s ingredients of oil, herbs and cheese, and it needs a wine that’s also simple but delicious. Match it with something like Eschehof Holzer, Wagran, Gruner Veltliner 2018 from Austria, for its uncomplicated fruit and acidity balance. Expect hints of pepper, apple and peach in this organic white wine.

  1. Instant ramen

Turn to a Japanese vibe for your store cupboard meal with a spiced up instant ramen for dinner. And if you don’t have any Sake to go with it, you could choose a white wine packed with body to complement the broth and noodle dish. Tatsuuma-Honke Brewery, Isake Classic Junmai Ginjo is a wine resulting from a fascinating partnership between a Japanese expert in sake and a French sommelier. It has a distinctive and unique lend of melon, walnut, peach and Sake rices, with a long, refreshing finish.

 

Stock up on delicious wines for Easter

With less than a month until Easter, it’s time to stock your wine cellar. Whether you’re seeking a sweet white wine to go with your chocolate eggs or searching for the ideal wine to go with the lamb on Easter Sunday, at Ideal Wine Company, we have plenty of suggestions for you to stock wines for Easter.

Preparing for Easter is usually more relaxed than the Christmas season. And the rules on wine and food are more relaxed. No-one expects the vast array of booze at a dinner party on Easter Sunday that they would for Christmas dinner. But it’s just as well to be prepared for your Easter meals.

Wines perfect for Easter feasts

Lamb is a popular meal choice for families in the UK at Easter. And it goes very well with a number of delicious Mediterranean wines or wines from across Southern Europe.

And it doesn’t have to be traditional roast lamb either. Try chuletitas de cordero, which are barbecued lamb chops, which end up as melt in the mouth and delicious with rioja. Or go for a Greek lamb dish for a change. Try garlic shoulder of lamb slow roasted with herbs and spices. To go with it, try a Greek red wine called xinomavro, which is very dark and fruity, but also full of the tannin flavours needed to cut through the rich meat.

Try these wines for Easter 2020:

  1. Gran Reserva Rioja CVNE – a delicious rioja packed with tender textures and a savoury edge. It goes well with lamb but works fine with roast pork or beef too. So, whatever you choose for you main dish at Easter, this wine will complement the meat.
  2. Lyrarakis Voila Assytriko – this wine is from Crete and is very popular with the traditional Greek Easter feast of magiritsa. This soup is made from kid or lamb offal and is traditionally seasoned with dill and lemon. This dry white wine goes brilliantly with the traditional Greek food, thanks to its citrus flavours and bright and mineral finish.
  3. Crociani Vin Santi di Montepulciano – a traditional Tuscan wine made from malvasia grapes. The process of drying the grapes on straw mats gives this wine a sweet and rich texture with flavours of demerara sugar sand dried fruits. Works perfectly with cheese, chocolate and cake, so ideal for dessert.
  4. Niepoort Ruby Dum Port – packed with sweet, bright fruit flavours this portis rich with plums and cherries. It also has a very silky and smooth texture and goes particularly well with dark chocolate – a drink for the sophisticated Easter eggs!
  5. Mastro Bianco – this blended wine takes the flavours from three grapes local to the Campania region of Italy. The end result is a deep dry white with hints of green olive and almonds among peach fruit with plenty of minerally freshness. It would be ideal with a seafood dish for Good Friday.
  6. Domaine de Montvac Arabesque Vacqueyras – this French red wine is a favourite for the traditional roast lamb Easter meal. Make a Mediterranean version with lots of rosemary and garlic and enjoy this succulent and balanced red wine. It also goes well with aubergine dishes, so is a good choice for a vegetarian or vegan Easter meal too.

Of course, this is just the tip of the wine iceberg. For more ideas on wines to enjoy at Easter and all year round, check out our earlier blogs.

Five industry insider secrets to clever wine and food pairing

 

Pairing food and wine can seem like a hidden art. If you’re new to wine pairing and want to make a dinner party extra special, it can seem overwhelming to match each flavour with the right accompaniment. And that’s when something that should be fun becomes a chore.

Matching wine and food together is meant to be enjoyable, not stressful. And while it is a skill, it doesn’t have to be over complicated. The first thing to realise is that there aren’t really any hard and fast rules. It’s more about an intuitive understanding of how flavours work together, and which complement each other.

In fact, you may find yourself breaking traditional ‘rules’ as you go through your wine pairing journey. To help you on your way, here are five insider tips to classic wine and food pairing.

 

1. Wine and food pairing – where to start

Start with weight. In the winter, we eat heavier, richer food and in the summer lighter, more delicate dishes. Apply the same thinking to the wine you’re choosing. Some grapes lend themselves to richer, heavier wines, and others produce light, airy wines.

This is a great shortcut to pairing wine and food, particularly if you’re not familiar with a wine’s flavour profile. A Sauvignon Blanc is a light-bodied white wine with high acidity, and as such works brilliantly with fresh oysters and rich cheeses. However, it doesn’t do as well if it’s paired with a chicken pasta dish, for example. If you’re pairing a white wine with a heavier dish, then go for a heavier wine, like Viognier.

A good rule of thumb for a dinner party is to start with the lighter wines and work your way to the heaviest. But you do need to allow your palate time to rest before switching from delicate wines with nuanced flavour notes to big, bold reds.

 

2. Don’t be taken in by stereotyping

Understand the subtleties of well-known wines. There are many stereotypes surrounding commonly enjoyed wines. For example, you’ve probably heard that Riesling is too sweet to go with many food dishes. Or that Chardonnay is too oaky and buttery. On the face of it, neither of these sound like a good match with food.

However, there is plenty of potential in both of these wines. Not every Riesling is super sweet. Choose a dry Riesling from Germany or the Alsace region of France, for example. These wines are made from grapes grown on old vines, and combined with refined winemaking techniques produce aromatic, bright and beautiful wines that go beautifully with food. They’re particularly good for spicy dishes.

And a Chardonnay from a cooler climate won’t be too oaky. Try an unoaked version from Chablis, and you’ll find dry, lean bottles with a minerally finish. Delicious with all kinds of dishes.

 

3. Don’t run away from sweetness

Wine experts and culinary experts know that slightly sweeter off-dry wines work really well with spicy or rich food. Pinot Grigio has some sweet and florally notes, which pair well with a meal full of salt, fat and richness. For example, a slated fish dish or buttery poached egg works really well with this full-bodied white wine. And for Asian food, a must-try is an off-dry Riesling, which absorbs all the heat from the spices.

 

4. It’s not just about the ingredients

You might think that matching wine to food depends entirely on the ingredients used in the dish. But how the meal is prepared is just as important. For example, a piece of chicken is going to taste very different depending on whether it’s pan seared, grilled, smoked or roasted. And the resulting wine pairings also change.

A classic wine pairing to go with roast chicken is Pinot Noir from Burgundy. It’s a lighter, but still earthy, red wine and is less fruity than the same wine from the New World. Too much fruit can overpower the dish. For spicier chicken dishes, choose a richer wine. Something like a Grenache or Zinfandel goes well with barbecue chicken, for example. You’re looking for juicy, lush notes.

 

5. Create your menu around the wine

Most people plan a dinner party menu by starting with the food and adding the wine on afterwards. But what if you did it the other way around? It’s a good way to get out of your comfort zone and explore some wines you’ve been wanting to try. Start with what you enjoy drinking. This gives you more freedom in your approach to selecting wine. What are you in the mood for? What have you always wanted to try? Start there and match your food accordingly.

Abover all, remember that there are no strict rules about matching wine and food. And while complementary flavours can be satisfactory, it’s also true that completely contrasting notes can work well too. A wine can either echo or reflect the flavour of the dishes, so if you want to go for a contrasting choice then don’t be afraid to do so.